What is Tor over VPN or Onion over VPN?
TorOverVPN solution sends encrypted traffic over the Tor network. From there, it goes around the world, making it (almost) impossible to trace back to the source.
The working principle is rather simple. Firstly, the VPN client connects to VPN server which then routes all traffic through a Tor node. Thus the traffic is encrypted within the VPN layer and later sent to the Tor network.
Your computer >> VPN >> Tor entry node >> Tor network >> Tor exit node >> Internet
Advantages and disadvantages of using Tor over VPN
By entering the Tor network, the traffic passes a few Tor hops until it ends up at the destination. That increases the privacy of the connection as the source of the traffic can hardly be identified.
Another advantage is that it provides access .onion websites (sites that can only be accessed through Tor) as the DNS traffic is also routed to TOR.
Also, your ISP does not know that you are using Tor. The Tor entry node does not see your real IP address, but the IP address of the Onion over VPN server.
A drawback of this approach is that you might end up in a dangerous or malicious exit node with no Internet or blocked Google. But, the next request is routed through another node that might work as expected.
How can you use it?
There are no extra settings you have to perform to use Onion over VPN. Directly connect to servers specially set up by your VPN providers.
Tor over VPN/Onion over VPN providers
There are VPN services that offer VPN servers connected to Tor, such as NordVPN, ibVPN, and TorVPN. They use OpenVPN protocol configuration files that transparently route the traffic from OpenVPN to a Tor node.
At this time, NordVPN offers access to two Tor over VPN servers:
- Latvia – lv-tor1.nordvpn.com
- Sweden – se-tor1.nordvpn.com
ibVPN enters the Tor network using three servers:
- Netherlands – tornl.ibvpn.com
- Singapore – torsg.ibvpn.com
- US – torus.ibvpn.com
TorVPN enables access to transparent TOR proxy on all its servers.
Tor over VPN or Onion over VPN offers an extra layer of anonymity by combining Tor and VPN technologies. Thus, your Internet traffic is encrypted by the VPN and passed through several Tor nodes until it reaches the destination. Even if a Tor node is compromised, it is still improbable that the web requests can be traced back to you due to the VPN protection.
However, this approach may significantly slow down your Internet connection. If you are interested solely in increasing your privacy you may also take a look at the Stealth VPN protocol and the Double VPN / double encryption approach.
To conclude, my advice is to use Tor over VPN only when you are a regular Tor user, when you need to increase your online anonymity or when you need to access certain .onion sites.
What do you think about Tor over VPN?
Do you use Onion over VPN? Do you consider it secure? What are the cases when you prefer to use Tor over VPN? Let us know in the comments below.